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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Reviews: Accept, Dragonforce, Peter Pan Speedrock

Accept: Stampede (Nuclear Blast)

Stampede is a good name for an Accept album as it encompasses what Accept do; they rush in riffs flying at speed as the drums and bass rumble the ground and Mark Tornillo screams over the top and as the final chord of the title track finishes you feel like you've been trampled by rampaging buffalo. Accept have always been one of the stalwarts of metal and they know exactly what they are doing when it comes to albums, the band have also seen a resurgence since their reformation with Tornillo they are still the band that made Fast As A Shark all those years ago but they are old wiser and louder! Wolf Hoffmann and Herman Frank's riffs are razor sharp driving the Teutonic Metal assault with six string fury and Stefan Schwartzmann and Peter Baltes anchor everything with the heavy percussive back beat. Everything is topped off with Mark Tornillo's great vocals who is near enough to follow Udo but also has his own definitive style. Despite the speedy album title the album grinds to a halt early on with the sickly ballad Dark Side Of My Heart and the frankly turgid Fall Of The Empire that just drags along. Things pick up again with Trail Of Tears but again descend into ballad territory on Wanna Be Free. 200 Years and Bloodbath Mastermind up the speed again. The bluesy From The Ashes We Rise is very good and very dark with lots of killer soloing, however for the most part this is an album of two halves part of it has the big German metal anthems with the super speed riffage, some songs are big fist pumping rockers but a lot of the album is filler with The Curse being a big offender as it sounds like it could be on a Journey album. As the contemporary and hero worshipping second track Accept are a Dying Breed unfortunately this albums shows signs of them slowing down, the beast is still there but in parts of this record it may be napping. 6/10

Dragonforce: Maximum Overload (EarMusic)

Dragonforce MKII return with their second album with Marc Hudson handling the vocal duties (since the album has been released long term drummer Dave Mackintosh has also left). As the last album showed Dragonforce have streamlined their approach gone are the 8-9 minute songs of their original albums, having been replaced by shorter, frankly more tuneful songs. However the key Dragonforce sound is there from the 240bpm (the fastest they have ever done) opening track The Game you know you are deep in Dragonforce territory, the lyrics are as usual nonsense based heavily in fantasy, tragedy and indeed love. The song is lighting fast, heavy, due to the backing vocals of Trivium's Matt Heafy, but also melodic with the dual guitar attack and the keys of Vadim keeping things lighter. Again Sam Totman and Herman Li do things to the guitar many can only dream of, Mackintosh drums up a storm (replacement Gee Anzalone will have a lot to live up too), Vadim again plays the keys like a demon and adds the prerequisite video game noises, Fred Leclercq brings a considered almost progressive bassline and Marc Hudson's vocals are even better on this record he has truly found his voice! As far as the songs go Three Hammers is a look back at their first album, Symphony Of The Night sounds a bit like Savatage with it's classical keys and guitars, The Sun Is Dead is a true progressive rock song written entirely by Leclercq it gives a new edge to Dragonforce's sound before we crash back into old school territory with Defenders and Extraction Zone. The final track on the main album is a supercharged version of Ring Of Fire (yes the Johnny Cash song) and it is very good indeed. The special edition features six extra tracks first is Power & Glory which unfortunately (fortunately?) is not a Saxon cover but is still good, You're Not Alone is a mega ballad, Chemical Interference has the classic Dragonforce guitar break and Fight To be Free is an early faster version of Starfire. The bonus tracks are well worth having indeed. Dragonforce have come back with a bang on Maximum Overload it is the perfect mix of old and new with the band going from strength to strength!! 9/10      

Peter Pan Speedrock: Buckle Up And Shove It! (Blitzcore Records)

Dutch band Peter Pan Speedrock are a band that are just distilled aggression, sweaty, shouty, four chord aggression! This is punk n roll at it's finest but with a lot of hard rock tendencies think Motorhead playing Sex Pistol's covers (Yes I'm aware it actually happened). Buckle Up And Shove It! is the bands eighth(!) album but frankly I've never heard of them but they are right up my street, gritty punk guitar riffs, aggressive throat shredding vocals, searing finger bleeding solos and a huge helping of aggression. See Tunnelvision as an example of the band's sound, coming straight from Motorhead's Overkill era with battering drums, rumbling bass and distorted guitars as does Heart Full of Soul. The album rarely slows down as the Dutch band bring song after song of sleazy Punk N Roll that just makes you want to drink, fuck and fight (not necessarily in that order). As with all bands of this ilk they are probably bloody brilliant live as they are a heavy hitting power trio, but they are no slouches on this record either as they have released 12 killer tracks of balls to the wall punk rock from the surf rock of Whatever Man, the percussive Note To Self which climaxes in a guitar freak out, the almost countrified Wide Eyed & Thirsty. The band can also do a mean cover adding a bit of grunt to The Dammed's New Rose (as if the original wasn't sleazy enough). This is great album and if you like bands such as Viking Skull, Supersuckers, Nashville Pussy and of course Motorhead you will love this album. Get your leathers on, grab a beer, buckle up and shove it!! 8/10 

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